Last Sunday night, I was sitting on the couch scrolling through the channels (when I really should have been going to bed, but oh well) and I happened to stumble upon the CrossFit Games being replayed. I think it’s absolutely awesome that ESPN shows the CrossFit Games every year on national television. It’s incredible to be able to see what those elite athletes can do, and the crazy workouts Dave Castro and CrossFit HQ come up with. All of that being said, there is one huge downside to the Games being the only CrossFit people ever see on TV.
“Wait, I’m supposed to do THAT when I go to a CrossFit box?? NO way I could ever.” Now, I won’t even get into the idea of “can’t” versus “can’t, yet” because anyone who knows me know I will rant all day about it. But, I would definitely like to address that above quote. The short answer is no, what Games Athletes do on TV is not what you do in a CrossFit box. They are extremely advanced, world-class athletes competing in the sport of CrossFit. But, here’s a secret: most of them started just like you.
What is it like to start doing CrossFit?
While a number of Games athletes do come from college athletic backgrounds, not all of them were amazing athletes before starting CrossFit. In fact, I’d wager that many of the top CrossFit athletes in the world experienced a lot of the same feelings you are now before they first stepped foot inside a box.
It is completely normal to feel intimidated, nervous, and unsure before your first CrossFit experience. It is like that anytime you try something new! Remember your first day of class at college? I bet you were wondering if you’d meet any new friends, if you’d do well in the class, and if you had dressed the right way to fit in. What about your first day on the job? Probably similar feelings. Did I wear the right shirt today? Am I going to be good at this job? Am I going to like the people? Will they like me?
CrossFit is really the same way…it just involves the automatic bonding experience of exercise. Here’s one thing you can be sure of: at the end of class you’ll be sitting down, exhausted, and you’ll look around and see other people in the exact same position. And you’ll know you fit right in.
Ok, so you’ll fit in…but can you really do CrossFit?
Heck yes you can! CrossFit is seriously for everyone, and the more I do it and teach it, the more I understand that statement. This is not a sport which necessitates you being 6’5 to join. You don’t have to be genetically blessed experience these benefits. At our box, we have everyone from 23 year old ex-college athletes to 60 year old moms all working out at the same time. It is one of my favorite things, to walk into the box and see our coaches working with people of such different backgrounds and goals. How do we do this? Scaling. We are masters at scaling.
Scaling is the process of taking an exercise and adjusting the difficulty level to fit the person doing the work. For example, let’s say we have thrusters in a workout (which today, we do!) and we have our 23 year old athlete and 60 year old mom. The weight says 95/65 pounds for Rx. No problem for the athlete who has been here and can handle that level of challenge. But what about our mom? She doesn’t feel comfortable doing that weight, and really can’t right now. So, what do we do? First, we take the weight down. Dropping it from 65 to 35 pounds can make a huge difference. Heck, we may even go to very light dumbbells or a PVC pipe to allow her to complete the workout, and still get the stimulus we’re looking for while doing the written move. Sometimes, although rare, we will even change an entire move. With the thruster, we may just change to a front or air squat instead. There are always options. Always something you can do.
Don’t worry, you even get an intro-phase.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel more comfortable when I get some instructions and teaching prior to experiencing something. It’s like syllabus day at school. You get a chance to look over where you’ll be going, and how you’re going to get there. That’s how we approach our OnRamp process. We would never expect that when you walk in our doors for the first time, you’re completely ready to rumble with the experienced CrossFitters. So instead, we do OnRamp.
OnRamp consists of multiple classes which go over what CrossFit is, why we train the way we train, how to stay safe while doing it, and then also trains you in the fundamental movements we do in class almost every day. When you’ve graduated from that, you’ll be primed and ready to kill it in the big group.
So there you go, you CAN do CrossFit. Feeling ready to prove it to yourself and your friends? Sign up for your free session here: http://summitcrossfitssp.com/try-crossfit-session/